Pleasant Speech Increases Learning

Anyone with a wise heart is called discerning,
and pleasant speech increases learning.

Insight is a fountain of life for its possessor,
but the discipline of fools is folly.

The heart of a wise person instructs his mouth;
it adds learning to his speech.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb:
sweet to the taste and health to the body.
-Proverbs 16:21-24


Learning here should be translated persuasiveness.

The wise man (not necessarily the clever one) will get known (a) for his discerning eye (AV: prudent) and (b) for his telling speech (21b, 23). Those who lack judgement or who talk above their hearers’ heads need not pine for recognition; only for wisdom.
-Derek Kidner


The picture above is from the book, Mrs. Gladstone (1920)
Some text before the picture:

She was in the habit of reading aloud to her children in later years; Scotts novels were read in that way. The following little note written by Catherine is interesting for its words on Bishop Heber, a great friend of Lady Glynnes: I could not have been more than eight when Bishop Heber first visited Hawarden Castle, 1820 I believe, but words spoken of him by my Mother have not faded. In 1815 she had become a widow. It was natural at such a time of trial that inter-course such as was now offered should be of special value. For I recall the Bishops singular gifts, his greatness, his charm, his persuasiveness. So it was through her conversation afterwards that I can recall how comforting and precious it was to her. Then I remember the deep interest on hearing that he was to be Bishop of Calcutta, and the awe and sadness with which we received the tidings of his death. Long afterwards Mrs. Gladstone told her

Teaching By Answering Questions (Teaching Like Jesus, pt. 9)

That same day some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came up to him and questioned him: “Teacher, Moses said, if a man dies, having no children, his brother is to marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first got married and died. Having no offspring, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second also, and the third, and so on to all seven. Last of all, the woman died. In the resurrection, then, whose wife will she be of the seven? For they all had married her.”

Jesus answered them, “You are mistaken, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. Now concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven’t you read what was spoken to you by God: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

And when the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.
-Matthew 22:23-33

These are reflections and notes on chapter nine of Harrell Horne’s book, Teaching Techniques of Jesus: chapter 9, His Answers.

Jesus not only asked questions as a way of teaching, but he answered the questions that were constantly peppered at him.  Silence was the answer sometimes and there were only two questioners that he refused to answer.  Do you know who they were?

The big idea is that Jesus answered his questioners as well as their questions.  For Jesus, behind every question is a person.  This is the humaneness of taking the time, valuing the individuals, and seeing them as persons to be redeemed.

Did Jesus answer the questioner as well as the question? This is one of the most significant things about his answers. Illustrate from his answer to the Sadducees concerning the resurrection.  -Horne, p. 60

Jesus answer dealt with the issues that marked the Sadducee party:
1. “You are mistaken, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God.”

  • Jesus answered their argument that ridiculed the OT law, to say there can’t be a resurrection, by telling them that they have no idea, no clue; they don’t get it.  Why? and What?  He teaches that we must both know the scriptures and the power of God.  And they do not, he says.  

2. “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven.” 

  • Jesus proves to them that there is a resurrection, but that Moses’ marriage laws only apply to our lives now and not then.  He enlightens them that they have conflated two separate issues, to disparage the resurrection.

3. “Now concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven’t you read what was spoken to you by God: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?”

  • Jesus references Bible material that Sadducees hold to be true, to teach that the resurrection is true.

4. “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

  • He shows them that Moses was shown that those who were alive and died are living and not dead.
      Jesus had to correct them, be a little harsh, because they were disingenuous in their question.  He starts his answer with:
      • “You are mistaken” (CSB, ISV)
      • “You are in error” (NIV)
      • “You are wrong” (ESV, CEB, AMP)
      • “You’re off base” (MSG)
      • “You are deluded” (TPT)
      • “You are deceived” (NET)
      • “You are completely wrong” (CEV)
      • “You are very wide of the mark” (Phillips)
      Jesus had to define the questioners who asked a disingenuous question.  They came to Jesus, not to be taught, but to prove that they were right and he was wrong, through a question designed to illustrate the absurdity of Jesus’ position, as they understood it.
      This is an example of people asking questions, who oppose you.  They are not there to learn, but to cause trouble by making you look bad.  
      You don’t want to not take them seriously and say, “get out of here!”  But you must first say something that expresses the idea that they completely misunderstand the topic or are mixing everything up.  This is not character assassination but dealing with the premise of the question.
      Horne says that Jesus’ answers, throughout the gospels, had a wide variety.
      Some examples:
      • Informational, i. e., his answer gave information.
      • Profound (for a series of profound answers, see John 6). 
      • An answer in the form of a question. 
      • An answer in the form of a dilemma. 
      • An answer to the questioner as well as the question.
      • A real but not obvious answer. (See Luke 17: 37) 
      • An answer different from the one wanted. 
      • An answer in the form of a story. 
      • Silence as an answer. 
      • An indirect answer (see Matt. 18: 1-6).
      • A practical answer to an academic question (Luke 13:3, 24).


      Learning to teach Like Jesus series:

      Part 1
      Part 2
      Part 3
      Part 4
      Part 5

      Part 6
      Part 7
      Part 8

      Artist credit, unknown, found here.

      When You Meet Together

      What is the outcome of this, brothers and sisters? When you meet together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All these things must be done to build up the church.
      -1 Cor. 14:26

      I have a question.  What is a meeting?  Is a meeting just a gathering of people, where anything happens; or does every meeting have one thing in common; that you meet there?

      Is going to a movie theater a meeting?  What if it is a film festival and there is a panel discussion and interview with the filmmakers, including questions and answers?  Is it a meeting then?

      I believe it’s a meeting if you meet.  If you can say, “I met someone”, you were at a meeting.

      There are “meet and greet” times built into events that are not meetings.  It’s not a meeting, but an event.  The organizers know people like to meet; so they build the meet time in.  That does not make it a meeting, but an event where meet time is built in.

      We have gatherings where the main thing is a speaker who speaks in a monologue.  But it it is not a meeting in the truest sense, because a meeting is where we meet.

      Meeting means face time.  It means I see your face and you see mine, but it’s more than that.  It means we all see each others faces and each person has a chance, many chances, to speak, to share and to express.

      Meeting means we all meet each other.

      Monologue and performance is not a true meeting.  The more you break up and stop the monologue or performance, the more meeting can take place, because meeting is about, “I met people”.

      It is true that in order to hear and be clear, we do need solo speech time.  I might say, “I need y’all to hush while I share, so you can meet me and hear what I bring to the meeting.”

      But the whole ‘meeting time’ is not my monologue or performance, because real soon, someone else gets to share or ask me a question or respond to what I just said.  You might not want to ask me something, but you might want to ask or say something to the person seated next to you, and that is ok too.

      A meeting is about meeting.

      The scripture from Apostle Paul says, “When you meet together, each one has…”  Each one has means, each one has.  It means that everyone gets to play.  It means everybody gets to share.  It means all can participate in the meeting.  It does is not say, “when you meet together, the speaker will speak or preach for 30, 60, or 90 minutes”.  But that is what many meetings are. 

      In this text which is descriptive, Paul describes a different kind of meeting, than what most western Christians are familiar with.  From our modern (modernity), western (Grecian-euro) influenced culture; we might look at the Corinthian Church Paul writes to as aberant (naughty and off the rails).  We might view the whole letter as correction with some beautiful side notes, like the love chapter.

      When Paul says, “when you meet together”, we might hear it as a rebuke.  This was a mess, chaos.  But, if you read all of chapter 14, or chapters 12 through 14; you will find out that there is much commendation, with some rebuke or correction.  The only way to see the Corinthian church or what they were doing as all bad, is to come to the text with a gigantic bias and we don’t want to do that.

      The meeting of the church that Paul describes here is a meeting where everyone gets a chance to participate.  We are so used to going to church meetings where we go to hear monologues or see the “one man show”.

      We have lost the art of leadership which is to create a space where everyone gets to participate.

      The job of the shepherd is to protect the sheep from wolves and lead them to pasture.

      “When you meet, each one has.”  The meeting is a pot-luck buffet.  Each person brings something.  If one person has had a bad week, they might bring a sorrowful song of lament.  We want to hear them, acknowledge them (get them), and comfort them.  We might want to come along side them as they trade their sorrows for the joy of the Lord, or we might just sit beside them in their grieving

      Each person may bring something.  What did you bring to share?

      We come to church, the church meeting, having spent time with God.  We might have been on assignment, or we might have received something from God, we want to share.  ‘Each one’, means more than one, everyone.

      What is the outcome of all this meeting and sharing?  The building up of the church.  The variety of sharing and caring, meeting and receiving each other is mutual edification.  There is a spiritual nutritional benefit from the variety of sharing that all the people bring.

      Teaching By Asking Questions (Teaching Like Jesus, pt. 8)

      I have a question for you…
      -Matt. 21:24, Mark 11:29, Luke 20:3

      In my opinion, it is good when a speaker, whether it is just your friend across a table, or someone speaking to a huge audience, asks us questions.  It is bad when someone asks no questions, but just teaches you, lectures you or tries to entertain you.

      Think about the best comedians or Shakespearean soliloquy/monologues.  They ask the audience questions.  They ask us to enter into the story.

      The best experiences are when we are drawn in.  We say, “Yeah, that happens to me”.  And the questions draw me into whatever the speaker is talking about, so that we can be together in it.  Saying, “have you ever ran out of gas?”, “burned your toast?”, “been honked at?”, “been given a surprise?”; all draw me into your story or the story in teaching that you are asking me to go on.

      If you have ever watched a TED talk, the speakers ask you questions to draw you into the story about what they are sharing or teaching.  That is called compelling.

      Everything that we say that is compelling is not a question.  I am not sure if the Gettysburg Address has questions in it or if good eulogies need to have them to be compelling.

      According to Hermann Horne, Jesus asked about 100 questions, in the Gospels.  The homework for this study, would be for us to go the Gospels and circle all Jesus questions.

      Jesus is the answer.  But Jesus came to ask questions and give answers.  Why?

      His questions are meant to stir us up to thinking.  Education is when we think and learn something.

      I personally believe that good teaching involves asking questions and I like that style.  I used to listen to a preacher on the radio that began every message with, saying, “Question”, then he would ask a question, that was what his message was about.

      Questions lead to dialogue, learning, and community.  I would say that in dysfunctional families or relationships, we don’t ask questions.  Dysfunctional parents or teachers do not ask questions or encourage questions that educate, cause growth, or nurture community.

      Curious people are thinking people who ask questions and are growing.  Great teachers or leaders tell us things, and also ask us great questions.  And the best teachers and leaders also encourage their students or followers to ask questions, and they refuse sometimes, maybe often, to answer them.

      This is one of my favorite quotes ever:

      “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

      Rainer Maria Rilke


      Learning to teach Like Jesus series:

      Part 1
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      Part 5

      Jesus Never Made Speeches (Learning to Teach Like Jesus, pt. 7)

      After three days, they found him in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

      -Luke 2:46

      Jesus never made speeches.  But when Christian leaders get up to teach, it is most always a speech they give.  We also call this a sermon, a talk, or an address.  You can actually get a doctorate in homiletics and be an expert on speechifying, in teaching the Bible.

      Jesus did not teach through giving speeches, but we love to give and hear speeches, in order to teach or be taught.  If you go to almost any church, this is what we usually do.  But, it is not what Jesus did, nor what the Apostles did.

      We kind of assume they did.  And we read the NT through our lense.  We impose our lifestyles, traditions and biases onto the text and see what is not there.

      How would you like it if you found out that Jesus did not do sermon prep like we do and bring a sermon to people?

      Some of the worst sermons you and I have ever heard were by preachers who did not prepare, but ‘winged it’.  The reason for this is that to give a good speech, you do need to prepare.  They tried to give a compelling speech without preparing or getting ready and they failed.  Great speeches are thought out and written out and often memorized and rehearsed.

       You may be great at doing the speech thing and even earn your salary because you are good at it.  But Jesus did not teach by giving speeches.  When you give speeches, you are not teaching how Jesus taught.

      You may love the Lord and love God’s people.  You may be smart, wise and compassionate.  You have a true shepherd’s heart.  And from all that, you teach.

      But your teaching is speech-ing.  Monologues.  Your audience loves what you do, loves what you bring.

      Jesus did not teach that way though.  You are doing something he did not do.  Why don’t you think about being a pastor, being a teacher like how Jesus did it?

      You don’t have to wear a robe and sandals or grow a beard.  Not that there’s anything wrong with doing those things.  But why not teach how Jesus taught, through dialogue: questions and answers.

      The immediate objection by you, might be, “that won’t work!”  You might think, ‘chaotic’, or ‘out of control’.  ‘Open mic’ at church?  “People come to church to worship and hear a teaching and not be questioned by the preacher!”, is what you might say.

      But that is how Jesus did it, so why don’t we?  He listened to the people’s questions and he asked questions.  He dialogued with people, and taught them that way.

      Speeches or sermons are monologues.  Jesus dialogued.  Jesus taught conversationally.

      Chapter seven of Horne’s book, Teaching Techniques of Jesus, is entitled, His Conversations.

      The four gospels contain over 100 instances of Jesus asking questions.  Think about it.  The person with the answers constantly asked questions or those he would teach.

      The best sermons contain questions, not answers.  Questions make you think and are for you to learn.

      The homework assignment for this chapter would be to read through the gospels and look at all the times Jesus asked questions and to notice how he taught: through dialogue, with questioning.

      To me, it is mind blowing to compare how Jesus taught with how we teach.  Where are the questions and where is the dialogue?  And how come I don’t see Jesus giving sermons like we do?

      We imagine or fantasize that he was like us.  But we forget that Christianity is supposed to be about us being like him.


      The painting above is: Giovanni Antonio Galli (Lo Spadarino), Christ Among the Doctors, c. 1620

      Learning to teach Like Jesus series:

      Part 1
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      Part 5

      Using Problems To Teach (Learning to Teach Like Jesus, pt.6)

      Then Jesus left there and went into the area of Judea and across the Jordan River. Again, many people came to him, and Jesus taught them as he always did.

      -Mark 10:1 (ERV)

      These are reflections and notes on chapter six of Harrell Horne’s book on learning to teach like Jesus.  Life is filled with problems ranging from what to have for lunch, to questions about eternity.  When we face a problem, it makes us think.

      Here are some problems that people had from the book of Mark, in chapters 9 and 10.  The problem is underlined.  I am using the ERV version today (Easy-To-Read version, 2006)

      They asked him, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?

      Jesus answered, “They are right to say that Elijah must come first. Elijah makes all things the way they should be. But why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man will suffer much and that people will think he is worth nothing?  I tell you that Elijah has already come. And people did to him all the bad things they wanted to do. The Scriptures said this would happen to him.”

      -Mark 9:11-13

      Jesus teaches that they should look at who comes after this type of Elijah (John) and consider how the Son of Man will suffer and be considered worthless.  Asking these questions will lead us further down the path.

      Jesus and his followers went to Capernaum. They went into a house, and Jesus said to them, “I heard you arguing on the way here today. What were you arguing about?” But the followers did not answer, because their argument on the road was about which one of them was the greatest.

      Jesus sat down and called the twelve apostles to him. He said, “Whoever wants to be the most important must make others more important than themselves. They must serve everyone else.”

      Then Jesus took a small child and stood the child in front of the followers. He held the child in his arms and said, “Whoever accepts children like these in my name is accepting me. And anyone who accepts me is also accepting the one who sent me.”

      -Mark 10:33-37

      Jesus takes the question or problem of who is greatest and teaches them about serving like he does.  He also made an object lesson out of a child, saying that service or being important is about accepting the smallest and weakest people, who can not do much for you.  He even goes further and says that when you do this, you are accepting him and his father.  This is an entirely upgraded upgraded teaching on importance or greatness, that causes the learner to re-think and perform the actions of importance or greatness differently than had been previously understood.

      Then John said, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to force demons out of someone.  He is not one of us.  So we told him to stop, because he does not belong to our group.”

      Jesus said, “Don’t stop him. Whoever uses my name to do powerful things will not soon say bad things about me.  Whoever is not against us is with us.

      -Mark 9:38-40
      Jesus taught tolerance.  We get intolerant of people who are different than us and sometimes even want to shut down so-called ministries that are very different than what we are comfortable with.  We have all sorts of lines, boundaries, walls, and tests that we use to say, “They aren’t right”, when they are using Jesus name to do good.

      Some Pharisees came to Jesus and tried to make him say something wrong. They asked him, “Is it right for a man to divorce his wife?

      Jesus answered, “What did Moses command you to do?”

      The Pharisees said, “Moses allowed a man to divorce his wife by writing a certificate of divorce.”

      Jesus said, “Moses wrote that command for you because you refused to accept God’s teaching.  But when God made the world, ‘he made people male and female.’  ‘That is why a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.  And the two people will become one.’ So they are no longer two, but one.  God has joined them together, so no one should separate them.”

      -Mark 10:2-9
      The backdrop of this question was not only to see if they could trip Jesus up, which was very rude and says something about the heart of the question askers.  But Jesus refuses to say “yes’, or “no”, and goes deeper; teaching them why God gave Moses a law like that: because of hard hearts, which is exactly what these Pharisees had.
      To learn about marriage, from which some people want to divorce, Jesus takes us back to creation.  Male and female, who become one.  In creation, the woman is created out of the man, as sacred architecture.  This is the exegetical meaning of the Hebrew used in Genesis.
      Jesus says, in a sense, that divorce is a terrible and destructive thing, because of how marriage glues a man and a woman together.  The Pharisees had made divorce an easy and lite thing, because they lost sight of what God made marriage to be.

      Jesus started to leave, but a man ran to him and bowed down on his knees before him. The man asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get the life that never ends?

      Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good.  And you know his commands: ‘You must not murder anyone, you must not commit adultery, you must not steal, you must not lie, you must not cheat, you must respect your father and mother ….’”

      The man said, “Teacher, I have obeyed all these commands since I was a boy.”

      Jesus looked at the man in a way that showed how much he cared for him. He said, “There is still one thing you need to do. Go and sell everything you have. Give the money to those who are poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow me.”

      -Mark 10:17-21
      Jesus answers or teaches this man about the problem that he does not know that he has.  His stuff had him.  At least that what many people I have heard teach on these verses have said and it seems like a good guess.  Jesus in a sense says that the key to eternal life is not doing the right thing, but giving up everything and following him.
      In other words, many people live their lives doing the right thing, while not giving up everything and following Jesus.  When you do follow Jesus, you will end up at least attempting to do the right thing, although you might miss it, mess up, fail, or blow it often.  The key to life and eternal life is not doing the right thing, but following the right person.  A true followership is when we are willing to give up everything for that right person, Jesus.

      Then James and John, sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want to ask you to do something for us.

      Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”

      The sons answered, “Let us share the great honor you will have as king. Let one of us sit at your right side and the other at your left.

      Jesus said, “You don’t understand what you are asking. Can you drink from the cup that I must drink from? Can you be baptized with the same baptism that I must go through?”

      The sons answered, “Yes, we can!”

      Jesus said to the sons, “It is true that you will drink from the cup that I drink from. And you will be baptized with the same baptism that I must go through. But it is not for me to say who will sit at my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he chooses.”

      When the other ten followers heard this, they were angry with James and John. Jesus called all the followers together. He said, “The non-Jewish people have men they call rulers. You know that those rulers love to show their power over the people. And their important leaders love to use all their authority over the people. But it should not be that way with you. Whoever wants to be your leader must be your servant. Whoever wants to be first must serve the rest of you like a slave. Follow my example: Even the Son of Man did not come for people to serve him. He came to serve others and to give his life to save many people.”

      -Mark 10:35-45
      This might seem like a silly or embarrassing question.  This is like asking Jesus if I can be famous: a rock star, a great athlete, author, or political leader; perhaps even an ecclesiastical leader.  How does Jesus answer us if we were to ask him this?  But their question or request was re-framed, by Jesus, as a problem that he gave insight into and a solution for.

      Notice that we don’t hear Jesus shaming them for asking.  Jesus deals with us where we are, even if we are below par.  This seems to have been a sincere question.  Bad-faith, insincere questions are different.

      They were asking if they could be the top people, who received the top honor, right beneath or next to Jesus.  They were requesting the highest appointments to honored positions.
      Jesus first of all says that the honored ones are perhaps going to be the ones who suffer the most for him.  Secondly, he says that his father is the one who assigns the seats.
      Then Jesus gets to the heart of the matter and teaches the disciples that leadership in his kingdom is not like it is in the world, where some people enjoy their power over others and like to make a show of it.
      “You want to be a leader over people?”, Jesus asks.  “Then serve: be a servant; be like a slave”, is what Jesus said.  Follow his example of laying down your life for others, so they can be saved; is also what he said.

      For each of these problems, underlined, Jesus gave a solution.  His solutions affected the conduct of his learners.  In other words, his teaching contained a new path, new way, or an upgrade.

      Jesus takes a theoretical question and makes it practical.  Today, we might ask, “Is this the end of the world, or perhaps the beginning of the end?”  And God’s answer might be something like, “It may be, but are you loving, living by faith, and serving me?”
      Jesus usually takes the question and goes deeper than a simple answer.  He makes it a heart issue and a faith issue.  And his answer or part of his answer often contains a question that makes us think and learn even more than we thought about previously.

      In teaching, like Jesus taught; if we seek to emulate him, are we going to talk about problems?  Did Jesus bring up problems that people were having or did he answer problems that people brought to him, to deal with problems and teach about them?

      Do you agree that Jesus felt that real thinking begins with problems?

      Before we get down on the Scribes, Pharisees, and skeptical people who asked Jesus questions; we can look at their questions or comments as problems that required thinking and learning.  These issues brought up were their ‘felt need’.

      Did Jesus always answer the comments or critical questioning?  Do you see places where Jesus did not get into it?  Do you see other places where Jesus did answer something?

      What were the problems that Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman brought to Jesus?

      When Jesus Jesus addressed a problem, his teaching was a solution, with a faithful action attached.  He did not just teach and indoctrinate people with theories to be believed, but gave solutions that hold true by active faith participated in by the student.

      In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about a list of problems.  Is Jesus showing us that addressing problems is the way to teach?

      Jesus saw the needs of his learners and talked to them about them.  We also can speak to people about what they need.

      Horne: “Jesus met the moral and religious needs of men, and inspired them to find satisfaction of all their needs in the abundant life.
         What difference would it make in our work if we met men on the ground of their problems and needs?


      Learning to teach Like Jesus series:

      Part 1
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      Part 4
      Part 5

      Learning How To Teach From Jesus, part 5

      “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work,” Jesus told them.
      -John 4:34

      Chapter 5 of Harrell Howard Horne’s book, Jesus The Master Teacher, is entitled:

      HIS AIMS

      Harrell: A real teacher must have both strategy and tactics, that is, he must have both objectives and means for attaining them. Without strategy, tactics have no goal; without tactics, strategy has no means of attainment. What were the objectives of the Great Teacher? First, make a list of these for yourself, and then compare it with the one given below.

      What were Jesus’ objectives as a teacher?  What were his aims?  Did some ideas come to mind, when we read Harrell’s words, above?

      • Teaching strategy
      • Teaching tactics
      • Teaching objectives

      Here is Harrell’s list the 9 aims of Jesus:

      1. To do his Father’s will and work.
      2. To be accepted as Messiah.
      3. To win learners and to train them as witnesses of his.
      4. To substitute vital for formal religion.
      5. To fulfill the law in the new universal kingdom of social righteousness.
      6. To show by example and to teach by precept the way of life.
      7. To quicken the faith and hope of men.
      8. To break the bonds of race prejudice.
      9. To destroy the works of darkness.
      These are Jesus’ aims in terms of his accomplishments.  
      • Which ones of these are practical for us?  
      • Is Jesus more concerned with our thinking or our actions, what we believe or what we do?
      • How do our secular goals for education today coincide or differ with Jesus’ educational style?
      According to Harrell, the aims of modern education, circa 1920, that Jesus actually exemplified, are:
      1. To develop a sound body: He healed people and made them whole.
      2. To form a good character: He lived and taught the highest standards of moral character.
      3. To refine feeling: He pointed out the beauties of nature.
      4. To inform and equip the intellect: He taught ethical and spiritual truths and trained the intelligence of his disciples.
      5. To make a good citizen: He was a good citizen and taught obedience to civil authority.
      6. To cultivate productive skill: He was a carpenter and taught economic virtues.
      7. To relate life to its Source and Goal: He was the Son and spiritualized life.
      Harrell wrote (1920), that:
      Jesus practiced what modern educators preach, that complete education is sevenfold namely, physical, moral, esthetic, intellectual, social, vocational, and spiritual. In both practice and theory the Master Teacher long ago set up the standards which are also those of our modern pedagogy.

      Questions to think about:

      • Would you say that one of the aims of Jesus was to establish religion as an ecclesiastical institution on the earth? 
      • Did Jesus intend to reform Judaism or to found Christianity? 
      •  Review his aims and ask in which he succeeded best. 
      •  To what extent should his aims be ours? 
      The next chapter is on “His Use of Problems”.

      Learning to teach Like Jesus series:

      Part 1
      Part 2
      Part 3

      Part 4

      Learning How To Teach From Jesus, part 4

      The next day, John was standing with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

      The two disciples heard him say this and followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and noticed them following him, he asked them, “What are you looking for?”

      They said to him, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

      “Come and you’ll see,” he replied. So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon.

      -John 1:34-39

      Chapter 4 of Harrell’s book, The Teaching Techniques of Jesus (Jesus The Master Teacher), is:



      It is essential in all effective teaching that points of contact be established between teacher and taught. By a “point of contact” in teaching we mean how minds come to meet, the common meeting places of mind with mind. Just as we “rub elbows” in the physical world, so minds have points of contact in the mental world. Usually these points of contact are matters of common or joint interest. The one who establishes the point of contact knows the other so well or so sympathetically that he catches him where he lives. To do this involves adaptability and tact on the part of the teacher. He must be thinking about his pupils or his auditors or the other fellow, as well as about what he himself has to say or do. It is very difficult for a self-conscious or an awkward person to make contacts. He is like a defective electric light bulb there may be physical contacts, but no flashes of light. Can you recall some one who is happy in establishing points of contact? How does he do it? 

      That such mental meeting places are requisite at the opening of any exchange of ideas is obvious. Without them the auditor may or may not be a party to the transaction.  What is said may go “over his head” or make no real appeal to him at all. But once two people feel they have common interests, there is a basis for further transactions. Without the sense of contact established, two minds may pass as ships in the night without speaking. One of the commonest ways of getting together mentally is by a story, incident, or bit of humor. One of the best ways is to play together. What other ways can you think of?

      Have you ever wondered why a preacher begins his message with a joke?  Point of contact.  Another one is to tell a story that leads into your teaching, that people might identify with or have their heart stirred by.
      When we meet someone, in an elevator, in line, or in the produce section of the grocery store, we might also have a point of contact.  Most of us are on our way somewhere or in the midst of completing a task and we don’t want to be bothered, to a degree.  But, at the same time, almost everyone is desperate for affirmation, love and belonging.
      In John 1:35-51, we see Jesus establishing contact with Andrew, John, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael.  How did Jesus do it.  Read John 1:35-51 carefully and see what you think.
      Here are 7 ways that Jesus made contact with these five guys, from Harrell:

      1. Jesus walked where his presence could be noted by the Baptist.
      2. He used his eyes. He “observed” Andrew and John coming after him, he “gazed” at Simon, he “saw” Nathanael approaching, and had previously “seen” him under that fig tree in meditation, like Buddha under the Bo tree.
      3. He opened up conversation, with the two, with Simon, with Philip, with Nathanael.
      4. He asked questions. “What do you want?” “You are Simon, the son of John?” “You believe because I told you I had seen you under that fig tree?”
      5. He invited companionship, “Come and see.” They stayed with Mm the rest of that day. “Follow me.”
      6. He utilized the power of the name. We all like to be recognized, and called by name. Further, In handling the name, he took a personal liberty in an acceptable way with a sense of humor. “You are Simon, the son of John? Your name is to be Cephas.”
      7. He understood character, and showed that he did. “Here is a genuine Israelite! There is no guile in him.” That astonished the doubting Nathanael. The open compliment was not lost on him. His pride was perhaps tickled as he recognized himself under the fine tribute. He began to capitulate. Somewhat bluntly, without address, he asked: “How do you know me?” The answer, showing that Jesus had noted him under that fig tree in pious meditation, appreciating Nathanael at his strongest points, led to immediate and unconditional surrender: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the king of Israel.”
      Something to note, that is interesting (pointed out by Harrell), is that it is possible that Jesus had to call Peter, Andrew, and John a second and third time.  Read and study Mark 1:16-20 and Luke 5:1-11.  See if they had multiple calls to discipleship.  Phil and Nate may have gone ‘all-in’ immediately, whereas some of the others committed themselves gradually.  Can you find Judas’ story?
      Go back and look at the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4:1-42.  When Jesus asked her a favor, he was establishing a point of contact:  “Will you please give me a drink”.
      In John 3:2, Nicodemus made contact with Jesus: “This man came to him at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could perform these signs you do unless God were with him.”  Harrell states, “Evidently at some previous time the mind of Nicodemus had opened to Jesus. How do you imagine it may have come about?

      The Pharisees and Herodians also sought a point of contact with Jesus:  “So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians.“Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are truthful and teach truthfully the way of God. You don’t care what anyone thinks nor do you show partiality.” (Matt. 22:16)  How did they and why did they do this?
      Jesus was rejected in Nazareth, in Luke 4 Was his point of contact successfully established? What was it? Read very carefully Luke 4:16-30. What caused them to reject him after speaking well of him and marveling at the gracious words that came from his lips? The trouble here seems not to have been with the point of contact, which was the prophecy of Isaiah and its fulfilment. 

      It seems that the Nazarites were more wed to and more enamored with their beliefs about God than God himself.  I have often wondered how we could reject God when God comes to us.  We say we are God’s people, all about God, but reject God.  
      Dilemma and paradox.
      We can belong very strongly, feverishly; while not believing.  We want Jesus made in our image and to ‘fit in’ with our life.  But, he comes and tells us and shows us who he is and we always have to be learners.
      Moving on to John 5.  Jesus makes contact with the man at the pool of Bethesda.  He simply says, “Do you want to be healed?”.  Same question he asked others, like the blind man on the road to Jericho.
      When Jesus asks us a question, he is making a point of contact with us.  In prayer, we ask him questions.  But what are the questions he is asking you?  He wants to make a point of contact with you.
      The multitudes followed Jesus and sat at his feet to hear and see him, because he had already established points of contact with them.  What were they?  What influenced the crowds to come to him?
      In ‘the sermon on the mount’, how did Jesus connect with his hearers and why did those teachings give him an audience?
      Why did Jesus use parables, figurative language and hyperbole?  Later, Harrell has a chapter on parables that we will explore.
      Jesus made contact with people by sharing meals with them.  He taught us or modeled for us that when you eat with someone, you are sharing life with them, intimately.  Why would he and why would we want such contact with unspiritual or sinful people?
      Look at the story of Zaccheus.  (Luke 19:1-10)  Why did he climb the tree?  What affect did Jesus have on him by sharing a meal with him?  In having all the meals with non-religious people, is Jesus teaching us to be exclusive or inclusive?
      When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, what point of contact was he seeking to make, by riding on a donkey?  See Matt. 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:29-44, and John 12:12-19.
      Peter denied Jesus.  Jesus re-established contact with Peter (Luke 22:61), by looking at him.  That is a verse that fills me with awe.  Here is the whole passage:

      Meanwhile Peter was following at a distance. They lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, and Peter sat among them. When a servant saw him sitting in the light, and looked closely at him, she said, “This man was with him too.”

      But he denied it: “Woman, I don’t know him.”

      After a little while, someone else saw him and said, “You’re one of them too.”

      “Man, I am not!” Peter said.

      About an hour later, another kept insisting, “This man was certainly with him, since he’s also a Galilean.”

      But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. Then the Lord turned and looked at Peter. So Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

      Has he seen you?
      Harrell: The resurrection angel sent a special message to Peter. Mark 16:7. How did Jesus himself reopen contact with Peter? See John 21:15. 

      It would be worth while to follow this study with a careful account of the spirit contacts Jesus made after the resurrection with Mary Magdalene in the garden, with Cleopas and Jobn on the way to Emmaus, with, the other disciples, and with Thomas. 

      Sum up now the main modes of contact made by Jesus. How many have you? After all, just which ones are not open to us? All we require is the will and the skill. 

      When we reach “Apperception” we shall find it a way of keeping up the mental contact already made. See Patterson Du Bois, “The Point of Contact in Teaching.”
      Next time, chapter 5: “HIS AIMS”  What were the objectives of Jesus?
      Learning to teach Like Jesus

      Learning How To Teach From Jesus, part 3

      Now Jesus began to go all over Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

      -Matthew 4:23 and 9:35

      Chapter 3 of Herman Horne’s book, The Teaching Techniques of Jesus, is entitled: HOW DID JESUS SECURE ATTENTION?

      (Quotes from Horne or the Bible are in italics)

      Horne writes:

      When one mind approaches another for any reason, the first thing to do is to catch attention. Ordinarily in human intercourse this is done by a word, gesture, or touch. The need of winning attention and of keeping it is felt, not only by the teacher before his class, but by the “preacher before his congregation, the lecturer before his audience, the lawyer before his jury, the salesman before his purchaser, and the writer and the advertiser, though only the printed page is before their readers. Anybody who influences anybody else must first have their attention. 

      Did Jesus have the attention of his auditors, even of those who did not hear him, but only heard of him? Who since his day or before has so had the attention of mankind? Stop a few minutes to think your answers to these questions. 

      Now why was this? How did Jesus so capture the attention of his generation, and, we may add, of all generations? For he is a teacher of the world. 

      Before answering this question directly, we must approach it by asking another: What kind of attention did people give Jesus?

      Horne breaks down the different kinds of attention that a person may have:
      • Voluntary attention, with effort, is like when we do homework that we don’t really enjoy.  Another example is when we keep our car in the right place and watch the red or green light.  We voluntarily give our attention to something through the fear of the consequences of inattention.
      • Involuntary attention is less effortful.  Examples are a ‘labor of love’ or reading a good book till midnight.
      Jesus’ disciples and followers gave him attention involuntarily.  His critics and enemies attended to him voluntarily, making the effort to seek his demise.
      Examples from Jesus’ life:

      Pilate’s wife, but glimpsing him, perhaps, gave involuntary attention. Pilate, with no interest in the proceedings instituted by the ecclesiastical Jews, but rather a distaste for the whole business, gave voluntary attention.

      There is a scene where the Jewish leaders sent men to take Jesus.  They went to do the task of arresting him voluntarily and ended up not arresting him involuntarily, saying, “never man so spake as this man” (Jn. 7:46).
      Multitudes of people in the countryside, “heard him gladly” (Mark 12:37), with involuntary attention.  While his people in his hometown gave him the involuntary attention: “The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened upon him” (Luke 4:20).
      There may have been a shift in Luke 4, with his audience starting out listening to him with ease and peace, involuntarily.  Then, the hard to swallow word was given by Jesus, and they changed to a hostile crowd, listening to something they did not like, that did not fit.

      Now, how did Jesus secure attention? It was no great problem to him. “He could not be hid.” He secured attention because first, there were many things about him to interest people; second, he knew what to do to get attention.”

      Horne suggests these, about how Jesus secured attention:
      • What are some of the things he did to get attention?
        • He called for it.  “Hear”, “hearken”, “behold”, “give ear”, he would say.
        • He announce his coming to a city by advance messengers.
        • He utilized posture- not that he ever posed (Matt. 5:1).
        • He spoke in concrete, pictorial, imaginative language, which easily catches and holds the attention, as a moving picture does today. The phrase “fishers of men” may rivet the attention like a fixed idea.
        • He used the familiar to explain the unfamiliar. Thus, he said men do not put new wine into old bottles to explain why he and his disciples, contrary to the custom of John and his disciples, did not fast. Professor James says: “The new in the old is what excites interest.” Did Jesus exemplify this canon? Can you illustrate your answer?
        • In teaching he did not belabor a point, but passed quickly from one phase to another of his general topic. Thus, the different brief beatitudes. So, too, parables were spoken successively, one story after another, as The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, The Lost Son. Here is unity in variety.
        • He changed the subject rapidly to win attention.
        • His teaching was so different from that of the Scribes.
        • He spoke with authority rather than for the authorities.
        • Jesus received attention because he paid attention: he was genuinely interested in people and their needs.
        • His works prepared the way for his words.
        • People gave him attention because he was a peripatetic teacher.  He taught as he journeyed from place to place…  Jesus walked with his pupils in the open, carrying his good news to all.
        • But mainly Jesus won attention because of that complex thing, covering a number of the preceding points and others besides, which we call personal magnetism. The sum of his qualities made him unique, matchless, winsome.

      Not that Jesus was, and did and said, all these things consciously and intentionally to get the attention of men. Winning and keeping attention was probably no conscious problem to him at all. He simply and naturally did those attention-winning things which poorer teachers must do with set purpose. Thus we must consciously imitate him as our unconscious model. 

      Can you now think of still other ways in which Jesus won attention? 

      The point that it was mainly through personal magnetism that Jesus secured attention, just as any good painting of him today arrests our attention, leads us naturally to ask: What in Jesus interested people?

      Some other things about Jesus that got people’s attention (my notes from Horne):
      • The question of, “Is he the Messiah? (His Messiahship).  There were many other fake messiahs that appeared, on the landscape, around the time of Jesus’ life.
      • His claim to forgive sins got attention.
      • His giving authority to bind and loose, to his non-elite disciples, was attention getting.
      • His message of love and mercy got attention, in the midst of a religion steeped in legalism.
      • His message about God as a loving Father got attention.
      • His signs and wonders that he did out of love and not to prove something, got attention.
      • His social freedom caught attention: who he ate with and called “friend”.
      • The fact that he did not follow the traditions of ‘the elders’ got attention.
      • What additional things about Jesus would naturally interest people? 
        • The fact that to some he extended a definite call to be with him? 
        • His moral earnestness? 
      • How would you explain the fact that the young fishermen accepted his invitation at once? 
      • How that the young ruler declined? 
      • What do you suppose would have happened if Jesus and Saul of Tarsus had met face to face in the flesh? 
      • What do you think would happen now if Jesus should visit in the flesh one of our towns or cities, as he visited Capernaum or Jerusalem? 
        • Would he have our attention? 
      • In what about him would modern Americans be interested? 
      • How much has human nature changed in nineteen centuries?

      We have now seen in a measure how the problem of attention and Interest was solved in the teaching of Jesus. Make a list of the points he exemplified which we may imitate more or less in our work as teachers. Do you find that it brings Jesus too near or makes him too real in flesh and blood to study him in this way? If so, be patient till you are through, and then see what happens. 

      What was the effect on the lives of Peter, Andrew, James, John, and the other disciples, of their interest in Jesus? Did following out this interest soften and weaken their lives?  Is it only by doing hard, disagreeable tasks that our lives are disciplined?  Is there a discipline of higher interest as well as of effort? Did Jesus assign weary tasks as such to discipline his pupils?…

      What do you think of this conclusion: The interest of his learners in Jesus led them to make the supreme effort of their lives? As fishermen they would never have expended nervous and muscular energy to the same extent that they did as followers of Jesus. The pedagogy of Jesus was not the soft pedagogy of interest alone, nor the hard pedagogy of discipline and effort alone, but the combined pedagogy of effort through interest.

      Next time, chapter 4: His Points of Contact
      Learning to Teach Like Jesus

      Learning How To Teach From Jesus, part 2

      A woman of Samaria came to draw water.

      -John 4:7

      I am sharing my notes from Hermann Harrell Horne’s , Teaching Techniques of Jesus.  Horne’s style, which he models in his writing, is to constantly ask questions.  Asking questions is the supreme teaching method.  My words in these posts are my answers and thoughts, spurred by Horne’s observations and questions about Jesus’ teaching techniques.

      Previously, we introduced the author and his book, then looked at chapter 1, which was about ‘the teaching situation’.  To review, the situation can have six and perhaps more attributes or dimensions. 

      Here they are again:
      1. a teacher
      2. a pupil
      3. environment
      4. curriculum
      5. aim (goal of teacher)
      6. method (way of teaching)
      Chapter 2 is:


      (Italics indicate a direct quote from the book or the Bible)

      Horne states that Jesus never deliberately gave his disciples a lesson on how to teach, like how he washed their feet to teach them humility.  But we can take examples of his teaching as lessons for our study on how he taught.  Chapter two analyzes the story of how Jesus taught the Samaritan woman, from John 4:1-43.
      Here are the six dimensions to this teaching situation:
      1. Jesus is the teacher
      2. the Samaritan woman is the learner
      3. Jacob’s well is the environment
      4. the water of life & transformation is the subject or curriculum
      5. the transforming of a life is the aim or goal of the teaching
      6. Jesus utilized an occasion as it arose.
      Jesus’ method with Nicodemus, in John 3, was Q & A, a remarkable illustration, and the element of surprise.  Here, with the Samaritan woman, it is an occasion that arose.  They found themselves in the same space and it was unplanned.
      We are going to look closer at how Jesus utilized this occasion to teach this lady.  Stop and consider that this is not just evangelism, but teaching.  If you see yourself as a teacher, see this story through a new teaching lens, of Jesus.
      This is a, “Jesus has left the building”, story.  The teacher, Jesus, and now us, does not just teach inside ‘the building’.  The full exercise of teaching is to teach outside and inside the building.

      John 4:

      When Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard he was making and baptizing more disciples than John (though Jesus himself was not baptizing, but his disciples were), he left Judea and went again to Galilee. He had to travel through Samaria; so he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar near the property that Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, worn out from his journey, sat down at the well. It was about noon.

      Jesus was tired and it was time for lunch.  He was chilling while the others went to find some food.  That is the backdrop to this encounter.
      They were at the well.  He was thirsty and she was there to get water.  He established a point of contact, when he asked her for a drink.

      A woman of Samaria came to draw water.

      “Give me a drink,” Jesus said to her, because his disciples had gone into town to buy food.

      Jesus got this lady’s attention and interest from the start.  Because he did something that was not done, that was counter-cultural.

      When you show up ‘where you don’t belong’ and actually talk to people, you might spark their interest and get the attention of people who are used to being ignored by you.

      Just beginning a conversation with the Samaritan lady was riveting enough in it’s “surprise power” to totally get her attention for whatever he wanted to say to her.

      But Jesus did not surprise her to speak to her, but rather to listen to her.  When we stop talking and instead listen, we will be surprised at what the other person will tell us.  And often they will end up telling us what God is doing in their lives, because they will have asked us something that our answer will give away that we are a person of God or that is focused on God.

      Jesus crossed the racial, religious and sexual boundaries or prejudices, customs and ‘norms’, when he spoke to her.  Just doing that gave him an audience with her.  
      His method was the conversational method.  He taught her a lesson, from her own life.

      “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” she asked him. For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.

      Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would ask him, and he would give you living water.”

      “Sir,” said the woman, “you don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. So where do you get this ‘living water’? You aren’t greater than our father Jacob, are you? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and livestock.”

      Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.”

      “Sir,” the woman said to him, “give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and come here to draw water.”

      The teaching came from what was already happening in her life.  The teacher gift that Jesus operated in, came to bear on the material she provided.  He had no agenda or script that he launched into.
      He only responded to what she brought to ‘the table’.

      What if we envisioned people as already being loved by God and on a journey with problems, questions and needs and we let them tell us where it hurts?  

      He used the conversational method.  Seven times he addressed her and six times she replied, the arrival of the disciples interrupting the conversation. 

      She was one person, but ministering to her alone opened the door to Jesus ministering to many Samaritans for two days.  One person usually has many connections.  Newly saved people are the most powerful evangelists or witnesses to God’s work in a life, because it is fresh, new and completely credible or compelling to others: real and authentic.
      We can teach a crowd and have some amen’s, smiles and thank you’s, with little or no transformation.  On the other hand, we can focus, with God, on one person, in whom God is doing something transformative with.  Then, that one goes, in the power of God upon their life and shares with many others, effectively.
      Jesus modeled something for us here to teach us how to do God’s work.  He personally associated with this person.  He sat with her, talked to her and answered her questions, while asking nothing of her besides a drink of water for his natural thirst.
      Sit with the outcast and answer her questions.  That is how God changes lives.
      One of the interesting parts of the conversation that started and ended with water, was when the lady started to talk about the spiritual or religious activities, about worship.  Imagine this is you or me, and we get side-tracked into the ‘worship wars’ discussion, that is really an embarrassing ‘in-house’ debate that does nothing to get pre-Christians saved.  Jesus did not take the bait and neither should we.
      Jesus brought the conversation back to God’s work in her life.  Loud or soft, acoustic or amplified, instrumental or acapella, contemporary or old hymns….  These are all distractions!  Jesus is fine with all forms of worship music.  What he is most passionate about is our hearts for God: “worship in spirit and in truth”: intelligent worship.

      “Go call your husband,” he told her, “and come back here.”

      “I don’t have a husband,” she answered.

      “You have correctly said, ‘I don’t have a husband,’” Jesus said. “For you’ve had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”

      “Sir,” the woman replied, “I see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”

      When Jesus brought up her husband(s), it was a ‘word of knowledge’.  That’s a spiritual gift that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 12:8.  Jesus did not minister out of his divinity, but as a human, filled with and dependent on the Spirit.  He was fully man and fully God, setting aside his divinity during his incarnate life (Phil. 2:7).

      Just read verse one of John chapter four: “When Jesus learned…”

      Jesus said, “you’ve had five husbands”.  What he said, in a sense, was, “I see your great sadness”.

      You have to consider what God’s goal is and the means to that goal.  The goal is union or reconciliation; and the means is love.

      God’s love is relentless, but not harsh or unkind.  Look at ‘the love chapter’ in 1 Corinthians 13.

      Jesus does not say, “You have been divorced five times”, or, “You are an adulteress”  He simply says, “God is showing me that you have had five husbands and the man who’s home you live in is not your husband”.

      We do not know for sure that she has been divorced.  Her five husbands might have died.

      What about the second part?  She could ‘have’ a man, in her life, who is watching out for her and giving her shelter (a home), who is not her husband or lover.

      Jesus’ word of knowledge is not a condemning indictment.  And she perceived that he was operating as a prophet, when he gave her those words of knowledge.

      Prophecy and word of knowledge are two separate gifts.  Both are taught on by Paul in 1 Corinthians.

      Prophets (small p) often operate in ‘word of knowledge’, but a ‘word of knowledge’ is not a prophecy.  Prophecy or prophetic words are always encouraging (1 Cor. 14:3).  Also, prophetic ministry is part of normal Christianity  (1 Cor. 14:31, Rev. 19:10).

      We are looking at Jesus teaching, where he gives a word of knowledge, is perceived as a prophet, and is evangelizing a person; who receives the living water of God and opens the way for her whole town to meet and hear Jesus.

      When we get a word like this, it is about compassion and mercy.  We have said, “Love the sinner and hate the sin”, but we have talked and acted like we are about, “Hate the sin, then love the sinner”.  This is backwards and not Jesus.

      You might be saying, “I am not an evangelist.  I don’t do street evangelism”.  But, you do talk with people, outside of your role of teacher.  This story, of Jesus and the Samaritan woman, illustrates to us how to teach ‘outside the box’: outside of the church building, classroom, or Bible Study space.

      Imagine taking the principles illustrated in this encounter that Jesus had and using them, when you teach.  What if you used an occasion, as it arose; mainly listened and let the ‘students’ ask the questions, had a conversation guided by the others and trusted the Spirit to superintend, and be open to operating in spiritual gifts in a loving fashion?

      Jesus told her, “Believe me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. God is spirit,and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.”

      The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

      Jesus told her, “I, the one speaking to you, am he.”

      I already mentioned the worship discussion.  But, here is another note.  This lady who was not Jewish or in Israel, and because of her ethnic heritage, was an outsider, was also looking for the Messiah.

      If you do some homework on the topic, you will find that Samaritans were looked down upon by some of the Jews.  The story of ‘the good Samaritan’ is an indictment against the self-righteous Jewish leaders of the day.  The Samaritan, who would have been looked down on by the Jewish elites, turned out to be the guy who did the right thing, had mercy.  

      The lesson is that people who are dismissed by the chosen ones, are cherished by God.
      The water might represent what people think they need, to survive and live.  The reality is that every person needs God and needs redeeming through Christ.
      All the ways and means, passions and proclivities, are in a sense, people seeking meaning and seeking to find their way through life.  People, like the lady in this story, have a story, that we should listen to.
      Most of the time, people’s stories have God in them and they also have an opinion about worship or religion.  Listening to them, while listening to God, while having a conversation is a way of teaching that Jesus demonstrates for all of us.
      The greatest way to minister (to be a leader) is to be a servant.  The best way to be a servant is to listen.  We usually say, “Listen to me teach you”, but a better way is for us to teach as we listen.

      There is a world of people out there who are looking for God, but are not going to come to church (to the building) to look for him.  Go out to where the people are.  The teaching that changes lives happens where those lives are already living.

      Next time, chapter 3 notes: How Did Jesus Secure Attention?

      Learning How To Teach From Jesus:

      Part 1

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